ComEd reps juice up their improvement plans in Oak Lawn

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Oak Lawn officials have unplugged a proposal to file a formal complaint against ComEd with Illinois Commerce Commission.
Village trustees discussed the possibility at Tuesday’s committee-of-whole meeting, but put the issue to rest after ComEd representatives outlined improvements made in 2013 and planned for the next two years.
“We do invest in Oak Lawn,” Katie Maier, ComEd’s manager of external affairs, told trustees.
Maier added that improvements include the area in the village’s 2nd District that has experienced several outages over the past several years, including one in mid March.
“That area is on our radar,” Maier said.
ComEd plans to bury an additional 8,700 feet of power lines in 2014 and inspect utility poles throughout the village the following year, Maier said.
Additionally, the company plans to continue tree trimming throughout the village and install several distribution automation devices, officials said.
“It seems to me you’re being more proactive,” said Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd), a long-time critic of ComEd.
Olejniczak, who asked the board to consider the ICC complaint, recapped on Tuesday several of the problems the village has experienced with ComEd, including a lack of preventive maintenance and inspections.
Trustee Mike Carberry (5th), who expressed support for ComEd at the March 25 village board meeting, criticized Olejniczak for his lengthy presentation.
“How long is this going to go on?” Carberry asked.
He added that he envisioned the new committee-of-the-whole meetings to be effective workshop sessions.
“I guess I want something productive,” Carberry said. “It’s not productive. It’s not making anything better.”

Olejniczak said he did not understand how resolving problems with ComEd was not productive.
“I didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’ve got an issue with Commonwealth Edison,’” Olejniczak said.
At a previous board meeting, Carberry rejected Olejniczak’s position that ComEd’s service is below average. He added that the utility has followed up when he’s filed complaints.

In 2015, Carberry added, ComEd plans to inspect each of the 6,900 utility poles in the village.